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Kenneth Roberts, “a 92-year-old World War II US Navy veteran” recently had a letter to the editor published in the Las Vegas Informer. Appropriately titled Questioning the Second Amendment, he poses seven questions designed to demonstrate, despite all evidence to the contrary, that the Second Amendment does not protect an individual right to keep and bear arms . . .

He opens with this:

I have a few questions for those who, including some members of the Supreme Court, honestly believe that the Second Amendment was written (10 years after the end of the Revolutionary War) to give the people the right to own and carry guns in our neighborhoods, at public events and in public places.

First things first, Mr. Roberts; thank you for your service. However, the Second Amendment does not give anyone any rights. This simple, but often overlooked fact is evident in its very phrasing.

It does not say: A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the people are hereby granted the right to keep and bear arms. The operative clause states that the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed, clearly indicating that the authors felt that this right already existed and that in order to maintain the security of the free state the government was prohibited from infringing on this pre-existing right.

With that cleared up, let us consider Mr. Roberts’ questions:

1. Why, if the writers wanted to mean “own,” do they use the word “keep” in the amendment?

Obviously they didn’t mean “own” or they would have said so; they wanted to protect an individual’s right to keep guns where he wished, be that a home, business or transportation. No, if the Second Amendment only said that we could “own” guns then it would be perfectly acceptable (to the antis, anyway) to require gun owners to store their guns at the shooting range or police department. I mean you would still “own” your weapons, right? So how could that be unConstitutional?

2. Why the word arms if they meant guns—are grenades and flamethrowers OK too?

Well, that’s an excellent question. Or maybe not since the answer is the same as the answer to your first question; they didn’t mean that only guns were included. Over the past few years there have been several court cases regarding knife ownership and possession which have been decided on Second Amendment grounds. As for grenades and flamethrowers, brace yourself: flamethrowers are already perfectly legal. Grenades less so.

So what did the Founders consider to be ‘arms’? According to Noah Webster’s 1828 dictionary arms are:

  1. Weapons of offense, or armor for defense and protection of the body.
  2. War; hostility (as in To take arms, is to arm for attack or defense.)
  3. The ensigns armorial of a family; consisting of figures and colors borne in shields, banners, &c., as marks of dignity and distinction, and descending from father to son.
  4. In law, arms are any thing which a man takes in his hand in anger, to strike or assault another.

Hmmm. It looks that by definition, body armor is protected by the Second Amendment, too. But back to the question: yes, grenades and flamethrowers are considered arms, as are cannons (like the ones Governor Gage ordered Major Pitcairn to confiscate from Lexington and Concord), cavalry and (as evidenced by the Constitution’s Letters of Marque and Reprisal clause) privately owned warships.
So no, the Founders did not just mean guns.

3. Why the word bear if they meant carry?

Why did they use security of a free state instead of safety of a free state? Why did they use infringed instead of abrogated or contravened? Since (again, according to Webster) bear and carry are synonyms why shouldn’t they use “bear?”

4. Why the words bear arms which when together followed by against means wage war on.

I think what Mr. Roberts is insinuating here is that the Second Amendment only protects the right to bear arms in a military sense. This argument was part of the Brady Bunch’s amicus brief to the Supreme Court in District of Columbia v. Heller:

The debates surrounding adoption of the Second Amendment, and in particular Madison’s initial proposal to the First Congress, make clear that the framers understood the right to “keep and bear Arms” to refer only to military purposes.

Unfortunately for the Bradys (and Mr. Roberts) this is simply not true. For example, both Connecticut and Alabama state in their constitutions’ Declaration of Rights:

Every citizen has a right to bear arms in defence of himself and the State.

In addition, as Judge Garwood stated in United States v. Emerson, 270 F.3d 203 (5th Cir. 2001) :

… there are numerous instances of the phrase “bear arms” being used to describe a civilian’s carrying of arms. Early constitutional provisions or declarations of rights in at least some ten different states speak of the right of the “people” [or “citizen” or “citizens”] “to bear arms in defense of themselves [or ‘himself’] and the state,” or equivalent words, thus indisputably reflecting that under common usage “bear arms” was in no sense restricted to bearing arms in military service.

Finally, going back to Webster, of his 20 definitions for “bear” only #3 comes close to such a limited meaning when it states:

To wear; to bear as a mark of authority or distinction; as, to bear a sword, a badge, a name; to bear arms in a coat.

This is where Mr. Roberts gets a little deeper:

5. When did the people need a special amendment to give them a right to bear arms and risk their lives in battle?

I am assuming that he meant why rather than when. See above where I deconstruct the idea that the Second Amendment ‘gives’ rights to anyone. But to answer the other part of the question, the people do not need this amendment, the government needs it to remind them that government derives its just powers from the people, they do not derive rights from the government.

6. Why did they put the word infringe at the very end which means to break or ignore the terms or obligations of (an oath agreement law or the like) to disregard, violate, unless they expected some future organization or court to ignore or disregard the first 13 words of the amendment which includes the militia?

This is another rather oddly phrased question, but I think Mr. Roberts is throwing a little snark at people (or courts) who disregard the dependent clause of the Second Amendment and focus on the operative clause. Well, to set his mind at ease, here is the text which Madison originally proposed for the Second Amendment:

The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed; a well armed and well regulated militia being the best security of a free country; but no person religiously scrupulous of bearing arms shall be compelled to render military service in person.

See Mr. Roberts? ‘Shall not be infringed’ is right there in the middle for you. And before anyone starts pointing out that this obviously isn’t what the Founders meant since this isn’t what they passed, I would suggest you read the debates. Once you have plowed through them you will see that (apart from dropping the religiously scrupulous clause) the authors believed that differences between the original text and the ratified text were purely stylistic; the meaning was unchanged.

With his seventh and final question, though, Mr. Roberts really rolls out out the big guns:

7. The big question why was the Second Amendment written if to give the people the right to own guns when they have always had that unwritten right from colonial days to the present because there has never been a law written that would deny the people of that right?

Ah, the money question! Or as Mr. Roberts calls it the BIG question. It seems as though he almost gets it…almost grasps the idea that our rights pre-exist the Constitution or even governments, but just misses wrapping his brain around the idea.

In answer, though, why would the Founders write an amendment to give people rights they already possess? The quick answer is, they wouldn’t. What they did do was write an amendment to prohibit government from infringing that right. But that last question also shows an ignorance of history as well as a basic misunderstanding of the concept of infringement.

First, the hypothetical lack of any laws banning ownership most assuredly does not constitute a lack of infringement. Second, from day one gun laws have been about banning ownership. Before there even was a United States of America there were laws banning the sale of muskets and powder to the French or Indians. Before the Civil War there were vast swaths of the country where blacks could not possess weapons.

Post-Civil War the various laws collectively called the Black Codes were (among other things) designed to keep newly freed slaves disarmed. New York State’s Sullivan Act was passed in 1911 at the behest of Tammany Hall so that the machine’s political friends (mainly Jewish and Irish mobsters) could be armed while their opponents (mainly Italian and Sicilian immigrants who wanted a piece of the action) would be kept disarmed.

So no Mr. Roberts, the entire history of gun control is laws written to deny people their rights. As John Dubose said, gun control is giving guns to people you like and trust while denying them to those you do not.

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  1. Sounds like Mr Roberts is off his meds again…he insists that the Second Amendment doesn’t guarantee us the right to own firearms, then in his conclusion asks why the Second Amendment would need to protect a right we already have – that of owning firearms.


  2. Everyone forgets 10 US code, section 311:

    (a) The militia of the United States consists of all able-bodied males at least 17 years of age and, except as provided in section 313 of title32, under 45 years of age who are, or who have made a declaration of intention to become, citizens of the United States and of female citizens of the United States who are members of the National Guard.

    (b) The classes of the militia are—

    (1) the organized militia, which consists of the National Guard and the Naval Militia; and

    (2) the unorganized militia, which consists of the members of the militia who are not members of the National Guard or the Naval Militia.

    The definition of militia

    • Right, and if you dig a bit deeper, the militia act of 1792 required all members to own a rifle and pistol.

        • they’re ‘well regulated’ if they own their own rifles and ammunition.

          In 21st century plain speaking, the ‘well-regulated’ term circa 1787 when the Constitution was drafted meant, as the case may be, that which is ‘adequate,’ ‘sufficient.’ or ‘in the proper form’ for its intended purpose.

          back then, it meant owning a weapon, ammunition, and other necessary supplies of a type and quality appropriate for fighting in defense of self or state.

          Unsurprisingly, that doesn’t change.

          • No, that definition is not correct. But it fits your fantasy. I have posted proper definitions before, still learning how to use this tablet. A well- regulated militia is regular, or standardized, In regard to chain of command, training, tactics, supplies and doctrine. Even back then. The word regulated has the root regular, as in consistent. A quick check into the quest for longitude will assure that well-regulated was about consistency even before we were a nation. Facts are facts.
            Of course a read of the powers of Congress in the Constitution would drive the point home even more so.

          • Regulate, from the Latin “Regulus”, to rule (over)…..first use 15th century. Ruled, as in made to keep to certain rules. Early use included timekeeping, a regulated timepiece kept good time, the seconds, minutes and hours were of consistent length.

          • Sian, check out Federalist 29. It backs my definition of well-regulated militia as well the impossibility of the populace at large being considered as one. Even better, it is directly relevant to the Constitution. Who’d a thunk it?

        • Nope, the militia at the time of the ratification of the Constitution was the general population. And that continues today, in spite of the government making a law defining the militia as able-bodied males at least seventeen years-old.

          • The general populace was never a well-regulated militia. A large group of untrained persons having no unity of force skills and a mish-mash of weapons is the exact opposite of a well-regulated militia.
            The constitution provides for the creation of a well- regulated militia under the powers of Congress, and specifies their mission as well.

    • Regardless of the definition of Militia or who or what makes up the Militia, the fact of the matter is that this is included in the dependent clause, not the OPERATIVE clause of the 2A.

      It should be obvious that whatever the Militia is or is not it could not exist at all unless those individual persons intended to form a militia had their natural, civil and finally Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms protected from infringement by the new government, or in fact from any government that would seek to tyrannize them.

  3. Is that a word puzzle in the picture? I understand why the antis would latch on to a “gun authority” they wouldn’t feel comfortable having a gun. Personally, I don’t really give much credence to an argument that, in effect, redacts the Constitution to twist it’s meaning. What’s next? Cut out each word and tape them back together to fit the argument, while throwing out the superfluous verbiage that doesn’t fit the narrative? The ability to satisfy nature’s demand for an organism to have defenses does not come from ink on paper. And with all respect to my brothers in the Navy, swabbies don’t as a rule carry guns, SEALS excepted.

    • More than a few who fought wars in the past never graduated high school. Their family life and it’s inclusion of mere survival put education a distant way back in the short list of necessities.

      My own father never graduated HS and joined the Army at 17 years of age…….crew chief on a B29 during the Korean Conflict.

      His perseverance and morality were family traits and not something taught in any school. Those are key to the worth of a person, not an ‘education.’

      However, this poor guy has been set up by the antis…..

  4. He wants to argue the constitution grants people limited rights. Its really sad to see someone who after 90+ years hasn’t come to understand the constitution limits government power.

  5. “WE THE PEOPLE …”

    The People are speaking to The Government. Everything that follows is what The Government may do, what The Government may NOT do and what The Government MUST do.

    The Government MUST protect the rights reserved and enumerated in The Bill of Rights.

  6. Great job Bruce. Very well written.

    On a side note I would like to add – the 2nd amendment is very clear. Very concise and clear. Only the freedom hating nanny statists want to swing their magical Orwellian wand and “doublespeak” the sentence to mean whatever they want it to mean. I encourage freedom hating nanny statists who would like perspective to read the statements made by the founding fathers at the time regarding the second amendment. Their position on the matter is very clear – as if the 2nd amendment didn’t spell it out concise enough.

    I don’t know why they keep trying to change the meaning and just accept it. Accept that you hate the 2nd amendment and that you disagree with the founding fathers and their philosophy of freedom, personal responsibility, and individualism and accept that you want the 2nd repealed.

    Don’t beat around the bush. Just come out and say it. Just be honest.

  7. Right, if the 2nd amendment is not about the individual right to own guns, I always wonder why they then passed a law in 1792 requiring everyone to …uhhh… own guns* and know how to use them. That’s right, the first government mandate was nothealthcare.

    *Not gun, either, guns (as in rifle and pistol, along with ammo)).

  8. The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed; a well armed and well regulated militia being the best security of a free country; but no person religiously scrupulous of bearing arms shall be compelled to render military service in person.

    Very good to know. There is a book called “The Second Amendment: A History” by some law professor guy who claims that the Second Amendment’s use of the word “state” refers to individual states, and not a country. Although that said, IMO even if the Second Amendment was worded, “Well-regulated militias, being necessary to the security of the free states, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed,” that still would mean it is an individual right being protected because of the wording of the operative clause. It would just mean that the founders would have seen it that a reason to protect the individual right to keep and bear arms would be so that the individual states can maintain militias without concern of the federal government banning arms.

    1.Weapons of offense, or armor for defense and protection of the body.

    Also good to know. I had been of the argument that the Founders should have written the Second Amendment as “the right of the people to keep and bear arms and armor,” but if the word “arms” at the time was understood to include armor, well all the better. Even if it did not include armor, I would argue that one has a fundamental right to possess armor, as it is a key protective element, but just that the Constitution didn’t explicitly protect the right.

    I would say that there are some limits on what constitute “arms” though. For example, the British in the 1700s used smallpox-infected blankets to kill Native Americans. I doubt the Founders meant by “arms” things like that. Also, tossing the rotting carcasses (human or animal) and plague-infested carcasses over the walls of cities under attack was a primitive form of biological warfare. I doubt that those are included in the word “arms” as well. Similarly, “arms” wouldn’t mean things like nuclear, biological, chemical weapons, destructive computer viruses, and so forth. But it does very much include the basic tools of war, ranging from firearms to knives, bow-and-arrow, axes, swords, shields, etc…and war is not just something that occurs between countries but also at the basic human level. If someone is trying to maim and/or kill you, that person has declared a state of war on you.

    • “…some law professor guy who claims that the Second Amendment’s use of the word “state” refers to individual states, and not a country.”

      The President’s cabinet has the “Department of State (Or State Department)” that is clearly defining ‘State’ to mean ‘The United States’.

      “I would say that there are some limits on what constitute “arms” though.”

      Not sure on that.

      Tench Coxe:

      “Congress have no power to disarm the militia. Their swords, and every other terrible implement of the soldier, are the birth-right of an American… [T]he unlimited power of the sword is not in the hands of either the federal or state governments, but, where I trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the people. ”

      Throw that back at him…

      • Nice quote, also note where he says:

        ##The power of the sword, say the minority…, is in the hands of Congress. My friends and countrymen, it is not so, for The powers of the sword are in the hands of the yeomanry of America from sixteen to sixty. The militia of these free commonwealths, entitled and accustomed to their arms, when compared with any possible army, must be tremendous and irresistible. Who are the militia? Are they not ourselves? Is it feared, then, that we shall turn our arms each man against his own bosom. Congress has no power to disarm the militia. Their swords and every terrible implement of the soldier are the birthright of Americans. The unlimited power of the sword is not in the hands of either the federal or state governments but where, I trust in God, it will always remain, in the hands of the people.

        He says, “The militia of these free commonwealths,” not, “The militias of these free commonwealths.”

      • Yes..I think a big problem is the 2a never defines what is a “weapon” versus “arms”, or was it meant to be a free for all, nukes, chems and bio’s included? Is adding a tax stamp to them an infringement of sorts? Do we include what was available only in 1800, or is/was everything destructive or defensive since invented intended? A guy Gerald Bull here in VT was building a big gun that sent a round 400 miles to sell, so is that covered (CIA and Israel did not think so in the end) The author just gives a Webster site, and his opinion as argument. It would very helpful if we had a better definition of what is “Arms”, so we can shore up which rights actually apply to them. It has already been determined that these “rights” are not absolute, as in can be revoked if “abused” (whatever that may be). Good discussion.

        • Your assertion that these rights can be revoked and are not absolute is errant, and based on poor legal decisions and law-making that ignores simple facts to the detriment of the people.
          The few exceptions to tbe absolute nature of these rights are already included in their text. Read them and you will see.

        • Nukes and chemical weapons do not fall under the definition of “arms”, this has been discussed in detail and reason why multiple times. And as stated above, yes these rights are absolute and they cannot be revoked by an elected legislature. On an individual level they can only be deprived via due process.

        • I believe one one of the SCOTUS decisions years ago noted just what i said – that this “Right” is/was not to be absolute, as in may be revoked by facts presented. “Absolute” would be indefinite/forever, and hence non-revokable, regardless of behavior, no? as to what defines arms, all seem to have personal opinions on capacity/shape/power/size, but it would be most helpful for a reasoned definition of what exactly is/was intended as “arms” by Framers. It would go a long way in settling many issues i think. That is the most vague part of the 2A i think, and one the author above address very poorly imho.

          • Scotus making decisions it has no power to make, and contrary to tbe obvious words and reasons the right was enumerated. Go figure

        • A right is inalienable to the individual. What is really debated is if some entity is going to infringe upon the exercise of that right. Semantics? Perhaps. However, I don’t care for how loosely the term right is used by courts and individuals. IMHO, it dilutes the concept of unalienable individual rights and that dilution has a deleterious effect on the mindsets over generations.

          The question isn’t if a right is absolute because it is absolute to the individual. The question is how much of an infringement upon the exercise of an individual right that is going to be mutually considered allowable. The Second Amendment is clear about the scope of legitimate infringement allowable for our government in order for the government to continue to govern by the consent of the governed… shall not be infringed. IDK, is there any other amendment so blunt about limitations of government?

        • ok, good point, but if “shall not be infringed” is so clear, as in all citizens opinions of such statement of what “infringed” means would result in a reasonably similar response, then would it not stand to reason that anybody, at anytime, anywhere, irregardless of behavior or intent, can “Bear”, otherwise it would be considered “infringed”? Once “arms” i.e. what/how big/how destructive (or not) is clearly defined, what about accoutrements, such as mags, suppressors, etc. and, as being discussed today, ammo type and even availability? It all makes my head hurt.

        • Knives, swords, guns and armor are definitely “small arms” so this nuke argument is nothing but a straw-man that the gun ban lobby likes to trot out.

        • I’m playing devils advocate here, as, in my opinion, there is as much grey area in 2A, as applied today, as much as this author seems to assert there is clarity. I do not think it is unreasonable now to believe “micro-nuke” ammo or even bio agent-ammo for 50 cal. could exist, just an extension of now available explosive tips (CIA developed backpack nukes in the 1960’s, so size is not definitive). Would not a constitutional definition of “Arms” be important?

          • I would opine that it should be treated much like other older terms, say “guitar” for example. In the past what was called a guitar now is some version of an acoustic guitar.
            While arms have changed over the years I think the definition would now be well served by reference to “conventional arms”. NBC related arms are even denied and subjected to regulation and treaties at the nation level,never mind the individual.

        • All, please note:

          When our corrupt courts/judges infer that “our rights are not unlimited”, you must look to where they point for authority.

          To an earlier court/judge!

          Because such authority/power is NOT enumerated them in the Constitution.

          Also note how often they like to refer to founding era USURPATIONS or historical USURPATIONS to attempt to justify current USURPATIONS.

          We the People have numerous fundamental, individual, creator granted rights that are not even mentioned specifically in the Constitution and BoRs but only given a head nod in the 9th Amendment.

          Regardless, all “sworn officers” have the same duty to “protect and defend” those rights, privileges and immunities as they do the specified ones.

          • “Regardless, all “sworn officers” have the same duty to “protect and defend” those rights, privileges and immunities as they do the specified ones.” — You seem to be reminiscing about America’s Constitutional Republic – we are no longer one. Time to face reality – this is a socialist state, where laws are created based on how they please the Party. Of course, a pretense of following the old Constitution must be kept up, for the simple-minded.

        • @Jimmyjonga:

          Check the online Websters 1828 Dictionary and Blacks Law Dictionary for the meanings of the time.

  9. The DoD has recently released an Internet-based course that it requires it’s employees to take. It is on the US Constitution. Amazingly, the course states that the Constitution and the Bill of Rights GIVES people certain rights! Or, maybe not amazingly at all…

    • It would seem that someone at the DoD is ignorant or committing subversion then, because they need to read the 9th Amendment.

  10. I rightly doubt Mr. Roberts is a vet in the first place. Even if he is, he’s twice wrong: firstly for merely believing what he does about the Second Amendment, and secondly for merely pretending to swear to defend the Constitution — all of it.

    Any veteran who thinks like him should be doubly ashamed of themselves. Being a real Navy vet myself, I’m already embarrassed enough for him anyway.

    • Agreed. As a veteran myself, I hate, hate it when other veterans or active duty personnel use their military status as an “authority” in the matter when it comes to the RKABA. It flat out disqusts me. Just because someone was in the military doesn’t mean they know jack about constitutional law or anything about guns for that matter.

  11. I’ve already shocked and appalled readers of my hometown’s local rag’s website opinion page with the knowledge that flamethrowers are perfectly legal and explained Destructive Devices appellation in my own minarchist way. Thankfully, my own SE corner of WA is pretty much nonplussed by gun stuff except for the pearl-clutchers and the “for the children” crowd who are still bitching about a skateboard park built in the 80s where ruffians and people who smoke hang out and plot to overrun our populace…I.e. smoke and skateboard. At least they have legalized weed to faint over now.

  12. The militia is the early version of the National Guard? The idea of 2A is so that an individual can keep and bear arms. The National Guard is a government military and not an individual. You don’t need a law telling the government that the government can own guns.

    Liberals are beyond stupid.

    • I believe the national guard portion (part b) was added in the early 1900s.

      The legal definition of militia was part a

  13. Short form: the prefatory clause (first part) doesn’t matter, the operative clause (second part) does. Of course, don’t forget the imaginary part about hunting…

  14. Let’s give credit where credit is due. By the time most people reach the age of 92, they’ve been dead for 15 or 20 years. And not just from the neck up like Mr. Roberts (played by Henry Fonda).

  15. It’s amazing how the anti’s can twist 27 words that are clear, concise, and understood in simple meaning. One would have to willfully try not to see that meaning, so that a particular point against guns could be made. How do these people pretend that our nation doesn’t have a rich history with guns? That Americas contribution to firearms is an important point of not just our history, but the history of the entire world. Colt, Winchester, Remington, to name a few, changed and advanced the design of modern firearms that everyone enjoys to this day.

    A militia, as meant in the 2nd A, is an armed, civilian force comprised of non-professional soldiers. But the worst part of the anti’s rant, is their obvious obliviousness to the degree of importance that the Amendments had in the minds of our founders. It’s not by random chance or whim, that the 2nd A is 2nd, and not the 6th, or the 10th. Isn’t it amazing what passes for intelligence in liberal-land.

  16. I think that keep also speaks to the free transfer of arms. There was a discussion on the differences between ownership and possession in the comments section of another article. I might own a firearm but another can posses it; short term or long term. To me, the concept of keeping arms means that I can possess and/or own them. I can borrow arms. I can loan arms. I can buy, sell; gift or receive as gifts. None of this shall be infringed. This is, of course, in addition to the good opinion set forth by the article on the subject.

    So far, it reads like a good article. Excellent job, Bruce W. Krafft.

  17. This guy is hard to follow. Regarding #6, if I understand correctly, he is basically saying that the Supreme court’s ruling was unconstitutional because it infringed on the second amendment by ignoring the first 13 words.
    So, in effect, he saying that to uphold the second amendment, the court would have to infringe on the right of the people to keep and bear arms so as not to ignore the militia part of the amendment.

    He might have been drinking when he wrote this. Or he might be 92.

  18. To point number 7, the right to keep and bear arms was also enumerated in the English Bill of Rights, even though only for those of the protestant sect, because they feared James II (how dare he be Catholic and have a son) might, conceivably, disarm them and hand England to Rome (there was little actual reason to fear this, but that isn’t relevant)

    So maybe they wouldn’t have thought of the 4th article of the bill of rights which because the 2nd amendment, had it not been for a similar history of such a right as Englishmen, or if the Revolution had not been sparked (though by no means fueled) by an attempt to confiscate arms….

  19. The Pennsylvania Constitution, Article 1, Section 21:

    The right of the citizens to bear arms in defense of themselves and the State shall not be questioned.

    This is the original text from 1776, co-authored by Ben Franklin:

    That the people have a right to bear arms for the defence of themselves and the state; and as standing armies in the time of peace are dangerous to liberty, they ought not to be kept up; And that the military should be kept under strict subordination to, and governed by, the civil power.

    Don’t ever tell me that the founding fathers were only talking about militia, military, army, etc.

  20. Here is a question that I think DOES bear considering:

    Are “arms” limited to those weapons of self-defense? If so, certainly a grenade – or a nuclear weapon, for that matter – would be excluded, as I couldn’t reasonably use one against a threat without posing a threat to others.
    Or do they include all weapons that can be used to secure a “free state”?
    If the latter, how could grenades and artillery be excluded?

    • No! Because during the discussion, many “Patriots” clearly pointed out that arms were both defensive and offensive.

  21. To add: Bear arms can also mean the use of arms. I’ve only heard the use in terms of artillery and forces, but the way its written in the second would imply use by individual. Just a thought as most people use the term to mean carry.

  22. [ During the debates on the adoption of the Constitution, its opponents repeatedly charged that the Constitution as drafted would open the way to tyranny by the central government. Fresh in their minds was the memory of the British violation of civil rights before and during the Revolution. They demanded a “bill of rights” that would spell out the immunities of individual citizens ]

    The U.S. Bill of Rights
    The Preamble to The Bill of Rights
    Congress of the United States
    begun and held at the City of New-York, on
    Wednesday the fourth of March, one thousand seven hundred and eighty nine.

    “THE Conventions of a number of the States, having at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added: And as extending the ground of public confidence in the Government, will best ensure the beneficent ends of its institution.

    Amendment II
    “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

    • Remember also that The B.O.R. was influenced by documents already in place such as Virginia.

  23. In brief:
    Militia: The first colonists to America from Great Britain brought Arms with them aboard their ships and immediately upon arrival formed from among themselves an Armed Militia for their defense. ( historical fact )
    A ‘well regulated’ Militia being necessary to the security of a free State…
    ‘well regulated’: An expression of common knowledge at the time derived from the painful and often disastrous consequences of pitting men who were untrained; undisciplined in military tactics and maneuvers; poorly equipped and poorly led against King George’s Army of professional soldiers during the American Revolutionary War for Independence. Thus, to ensure the ‘security of a free State’ a ‘well regulated’ Militia was understood as being necessary.
    ‘the right of the people to keep and bear Arms’: ‘the people’ were already well Armed and had only recently fought a bloody and brutal struggle for their Independence against the most powerful Army of professional soldiers in existence at the time. With this and numerous other considerations fully in mind, under no circumstances were they going to allow their own newly-formed centralized government any powers whatsoever to enact any ‘Rights’- infringing laws, and most especially the ‘Right’ of the people to keep and bear Arms.
    ‘security of a free State’: Among many potentials was that of the Federal government erecting a Standing Army and then using it against the people in the various States, or the formation of an Army resulting in an attempt to militarily overthrow the civilian government.
    ‘shall not be infringed’: From the position of Armed Men who were ready, willing and fully able to defend their ‘Rights’, declaring the ‘Rights’ they already held as LAW in the Constitution of the United States ‘in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse’ of the few and expressly limited powers afforded to those within and acting on behalf of the Federal government — a ’Right’ that ‘shall not be infringed’ written into LAW is as powerful and all encompassing a statement as could be made.

    For the benefit of those now deemed incapable of grasping the ‘nuances’ of plain language and unknowingly being fundamentally transformed into the new-age, highly-progressive societal collective — the following explanation for the law written as the Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States is conveniently provided as follows:
    “The Second Amendment gives citizens the right to bear arms.”

  24. No luck leaving this directly at the Lost Wages Disinformer, but if I could post, to the vet, I would say-

    Thank you for your service, protecting our freedoms.

    Here is a very good explanation of the historical meaning of keep and bear, and the Founders intent as written in documents then. The brilliant review and summation of that is contained in the Peruta vs San Diego decision, and also cites modern day interpretations by the Supreme Courts that To Keep And Bear Arms means both an individual right, to self-defense, and a group right to protect from the tyranny of an out of control State.

  25. The simplest and most direct answer to confusion about the Second Amendment’s true meaning is grammatical.

    Generically, the amendment is structured to say “Because of THAT, we are guaranteeing THIS.”

    It’s no more complicated than that.

  26. the second question says, Why the word arms if they meant guns—are grenades and flamethrowers OK too, true flamethrowers weren’t invented until 1901 by Germany now how on earth could you ask this question without researching anything. Likewise the grenade wasn’t invented until 1908 granted prototypes were used in civil war but still the 2nd amendment was created in 1791 a little over 100 years before either were created

  27. Another look at the Second Amendment

    Since others believe and cultivate something I do not see, neither logic or theory I can understand, I have been forced to study and relate my reading of the Second Amendment. In the making of our United States Constitution I have 49 plus reasons that help to explain my understanding of the Second Amendment.

    The Constitution of the United States was established and formulated as a result of the Articles of Confederation. Article 6, reflects part of that vision, “..nor shall any body of forces be kept up by any State in time of peace,… but every State shall always keep up a well- regulated and disciplined militia,…”

    If, as some may argue, that the Second Amendment’s “militia” meaning, is that every person has a right to keep and bear arms. The only way to describe one’s right as a private individual, is not as a “militia” but as a “person” (“The individual personality of a human being: self.”).

    Articles of Confederation lists eleven (11) references to “person/s.”
    “If any person guilty of…
    “..and no person shall be capable of…”
    “..nor shall any person…”
    “..shall be protected in their persons..”
    “..nor shall any person holding any office…”
    “..granted or surveyed for any person, ..
    “..Congress shall name three persons..”
    “..list of such persons each party shall..”
    “..and the persons whose names shall..”
    “..nominate three persons..”
    “..provided that no person be allowed to serve..”

    “Person” or “persons“” is mentioned in the Constitution 49 times, to explicitly describe, clarify and mandate a Constitutional legal standing as to a “person”, his or her Constitutional rights.

    Whereas in the Second Amendment, reference to “person” is not to be found. Was there are reason?. The obvious question arises, why did the Framers use the noun “person/s” as liberally as they did throughout the Constitution 49 times and not apply this understanding to explicitly convey same legal standard in defining an individual’s right to bear arms as a “person”?

    “Person” is one as described by Merriam-Webster Dictionary as a “citizen”. “A person who owes allegiance to a government and is entitled to its protection.”

    Merriam Webster “militia”, “a body of citizens organized for military service : a whole body of able-bodied male citizens declared by law as being subject to call to military service.”

    In the whole of the U.S. Constitution, “militia” is mentioned 5 times. In these references, there is no mention of person or persons. One reference to “people“ in the Second Amendment. People, meaning not a person but persons, in describing a “militia”. “People” is mentioned a total 9 times.

    Comment: The Author Judge Tom

    “Excerpts in reading Emerson v. United States (1999), or Miller v. United States (1939), one can be struck with the many thoughts, interpretations of what the second amendment means, but more important how it came about and ended. However, even still, I am left with the thought if the Framers had treated Amendment 2 with the same obedience, and reverence to explain the 49 Constitutional references to “person”, there would be no controversy in what is perceived as a right to bear arms. “

    It’s not enough to just say that “person(s)” is mentioned in the United States Constitution 49 times. But to see it for yourself, and the realization was for the concern envisioned by the Framers that every “person” be secure in these rights explicitly spelled out, referenced and understood how these rights were to be applied to that “person”.
    “..No Person shall be a Representative..” (Article 1 Section 2)
    “..whole Number of free Persons,..” (Article 1 Section 2)
    “..three fifths of all other Persons…” (Article 1 Section 2)
    “..No person shall be a Senator…” (Article 1 Section 3)
    “..And no Person shall be convicted…” (Article 1 Section 3)
    “ Person holding any Office…” (Article 1 Section 6)
    “..Names of the Persons voting for…” (Article 1 Section 7)
    “…of such Persons as any of the States…” (Article 1 Section 9)
    “…not exceeding ten dollars for each Person…” (Article 1 Section 9)
    “…And no Person holding any…” (Article 1 Section 9)
    “…or Person holding an Office of Trust of…“ (Article 2 Section 1)
    “…and vote by Ballot for two persons,…” (Article 2 Section 1)
    “…List of all the Persons voted for,…” (Article 2 Section 1)
    “…The Person having the greatest Number of Votes…” (Article 2 Section 1)
    “…and if no Person have a Majority,…” (Article 2 Section 1)
    “…the Person having the greatest Number…” (Article 2 Section 1)
    “…No person except a natural born Citizen,…” (Article 2 Section 1)
    “…Any Person be eligible to that ….” (Article 2 Section 1)
    “…No Person shall be convicted of …” (Article 4 Section 3)
    “…except during the Life of the Person attainted….”. (Article 4 Section 3)
    “…A Person charged in any State…” (Article 5 Section 2)
    “…No Person held to Service…” (Article 5 Section 2)
    “…The right of the people to be secure in their persons,…” (Amendment IV)
    “…and the persons or things to be seized….” (Amendment IV)
    “..No person shall be held to answer…” (Amendment V)
    “..nor shall any person be subject for the same offense….” (Amendment V)
    “…they shall name in their ballots the person voted for as President,…” (Amendment XII)
    “…the person voted for as Vice-President,…” (Amendment XII)
    “…all persons voted for as President,….” (Amendment XII)
    “…all persons voted for as Vice-President…” (Amendment XII)
    “…The person having the greatest Number of votes for President, …” (Amendment XII)
    “…and if no person have such majority,…” (Amendment XII)
    “..the persons having the highest numbers …” (Amendment XII)
    “… The person having the greatest number of votes…” (Amendment XII)
    “..and if no person have a majority,…” (Amendment XII)
    “…But no person constitutionally ineligible…” (Amendment XII)
    “…All persons born or naturalized …” (Amendment XIV Section 1)
    “… any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property,” (Amendment XIV Section1 )
    “…nor deny to any person within …” (Amendment XIV Section1)
    “…number of persons in each State,….” (Amendment XIV Section 2)
    “…No person shall be a Senator or …” (Amendment XIV Section3)
    “..and such person shall act accordingly….” (Amendment XX Section3)
    “…of the death of any of the persons from…” (Amendment XX Section4)
    “…case of the death of any of the persons from…” (Amendment XX Section4)
    “…No person shall be elected to the office…” (Amendment XXII Section1)
    “…and no person who has held the office of President,…” (Amendment XXII Section1)
    “ which some other person was elected…” (Amendment XXII Section1)
    “…shall not apply to any person holding the office…” (Amendment XXII Section1)
    “..prevent any person who may be holding…” (Amendment XXII Section1)

    What am I missing?

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